Laura Matthews Photography
“You always hear the term ‘honky-tonk angel,’” Andy Vaughan says about the genesis of this Western swing workout, a standout cut on “Long Gone,” his band’s debut disc. “Country artists have sung about ’em, but there’s nothing angelic about what country music is about … drinking, heartache.” The lead singer and bandleader counts Merle Haggard and Buck Owens and the Buckaroos among his heroes, and he and his band emulate those seminal artists without imitating them. “My dad was a bluegrass musician,” he says. “I grew up hanging around bluegrass festivals.” Over the years, he played in punk-rock and ska bands, but eventually settled back into country and roots music. “I try to maintain the same kind of passion and intensity,” he says. “I believe that you can put some punk rock into country music.” A new album of inspired twang, recorded at Snake Oil Studios, is due in June. andyvaughanmusic.com.